Cold Weather Energy Efficiency Tips
When cold weather strikes, it usually means a spike in energy use. By making a few easy adjustments and planning for the season, you can keep costs down while keeping your home warm. The best part…you’re also saving energy.
Set your ceiling fans to the clockwise direction to help pull the heated air down to the living areas of your home and keep drafts at bay.
Make sure the insulation in your attic is 10-12 inches deep to help keep your home comfortable.
Learn how to do it yourself.
Repair or replace old windows. Fill cracks and seal gaps with caulk. Learn how to do it yourself.
More Tips to Keep You Warm
Program your thermostat to a temperature setting of 68 degrees or lower during the day and even cooler at night while you’re sleeping and snuggled under the covers.
If you’ve got a programmable thermostat, set it to automatically increase about 10 or 15 minutes before your alarm goes off, so you can start your day without shivering.
Open your drapes or blinds to take advantage of the sun’s rays during the day to help heat your home. Close them on the shaded side of the house and at night.
Close all louvers and vents in the attic or foundation walls during the winter - but be sure to open them when the weather turns warm.
Check your water heater. If your water heater tank is warm to the touch, believe it or not, it may need a blanket. Check with the manufacturer to see if it has an R value of at least 24, and if not, try adding a custom-made insulating blanket, which can reduce heat loss by 25%-45%. They are super easy to install and available at most home improvement or building supply stores.
Upgrade your heating and cooling system to a heat pump. Heat pumps utilize electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer.
Rethink your fireplace. Although a crackling fire in the fireplace can make a room appear to be warm and cozy, fireplaces are often a deterrent to energy efficiency because a lot of the heated air escapes up the chimney. A fireplace designed for providing heat eliminates this problem through a draft which supplies the fire with outside air rather than air from the room.
Zone heat — only use portable electric space heaters in the room or area you are in. Buy models that are thermostatically controlled.
Use an electric blanket at night. An electric blanket is more economical than heating the entire house all night long. Another option - swap out your bedding to flannel sheets or heavier blankets.
Cover up cold feet. Research shows we are more sensitive to feeling cold when our toes are exposed, and women are more likely than men to have cold feet. Wearing comfy wool socks can help you feel warm all over.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will using my fireplace lower my energy bill?
It may surprise you, but fireplaces are not very efficient in heating your home. They actually pull heated air from inside your home and out of the chimney. Consider installing glass doors to help limit the amount of air that gets drawn up and out. Be sure to also clean and maintain your chimneys regularly to prevent fire hazards.
What is the ideal temperature to set my thermostat on during the colder months?
Every family differs in comfort levels, but overall most people are comfortable at a setting of 68-70 degrees. If you are away from home for more than four hours, consider setting it back more to save you money. To ensure you come home to a comfortable setting, consider purchasing a smart programmable thermostat that learns your habits and adjusts accordingly.
Will closing the heat registers in unused rooms save energy or money?
Closing off your heat registers could create pressure on your blower fan to work harder. This could cause harm to your equipment, which could outweigh any savings costs you may incur on your power bill. Not to mention, it can cause more distress on you if your unit goes out when it’s the coldest outside.
Why should I consider investing in a heat pump?
Advanced and efficient in design, a heat pump provides comfort in your home year-round. It provides high-efficiency cooling in the summer, and efficient heating in the winter – all in one unit. And because of how efficient it is, it can result in big savings on your monthly energy bills. Other benefits – it provides an important amplification of temperature that simple heat exchangers cannot do and offers more choices in where to locate your system as it doesn’t require flues.
How much insulation does my home need?
Areas of your home that are separated from unconditioned areas require insulation. A local contractor can help you determine the insulation levels for each area and if you’re meeting the recommended R-Values for ceilings, walls and floors. R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation. Start at the top with your roof and attic before you move to your foundation then walls and floors.
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